Singing My Daughter to Sleep

My mother always loved to tell me the story of when I was a baby and the only way she was able to get me to sleep was by singing.

See, I was the last of her three children, and I arrived eleven years after my sister did. I’m not sure if she never sang to my brother and sister when they were babies, or because it had been so long since she’d had a baby, it just didn’t cross her mind as an option.

It didn’t help that I was very colicky, and she would be up late most nights, desperate for relief, while all I did was cry, and cry, and cry.

The Voice of God

The way my mom would tell it, was that after weeks of struggling to get me to sleep (may have only been a few nights, or one week, who knows), she cried out to God for help.

If she were still alive today, she would stand by her statement that as clear as day, she heard Him say “sing to her”.

You other mommas know that when you’ve been up night after night with a colicky baby that just won’t sleep, you are beyond tired. Well, my mom was, too.

Her first thought was, “Sing to her? Are you nuts?”

Once again, as clear as if He were sitting right next to her, God said, “sing to her.”

So, my mom began singing the first song that came to mind: Jesus Loves Me.

Enter Evelyn Rose

I heard that story a lot growing up and into my adulthood. My mom has since passed, but it’s still one of my favorite stories about when I was a baby. I should also tell you that my mother had a gorgeous voice, so honestly, it was no wonder that her voice put me to sleep.

It’s long been a dream of mine that when I finally had children, I would be able to sing them to sleep with sweet lullabies, soothed by just my voice alone.

Then I had my daughter. As a tiny baby, she didn’t want to have anything to do with me singing. It had no effect. Maybe once or twice, but not really on a consistent basis.

I tried many songs: “You Are My Sunshine”, “Jesus Loves Me” (cause you can’t knock a classic, right?), “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”, and my personal favorite song of all time, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone.

Now, my voice may be out of practice, but I’m still a good singer, so I knew that wasn’t the case. It just didn’t phase her as a baby.

For a while, right around age when she was a year and a half, she finally started letting me sing “You Light Up My Life” to her during our bedtime routine. It didn’t put her to sleep, but she let me sing it.

For a really short time there, she would try to sing it with me, which was insanely cute.

Then I had to get a part-time job and our bedtime routines got interrupted, and for a little over a year she refused story time and refused to let me sing her any song. If she saw a book or heard me singing, she would just cry.

I think part of that was because she wasn’t seeing me as much because of my job, and those things meant that she would have to be away from me. I’m not sure, but it was discouraging that my two favorite things (reading and singing) she didn’t want to do at bedtime.

Times Have Changed Again

A few months ago I started working from home as a freelance writer. Though I’m not making a ton of money yet, I was making enough to start cutting back on my part-time job so I could be home more.

I first slowly started to reintroduce reading to her at bedtime by using books from her favorite cartoons. Now, she wants to read every night at bedtime, no matter what books it is, and I’ve started letting her choose the book. She holds it and turns the pages while I read. She can be a bit bossy, though, haha.

Anyway, about a week ago I took the plunge and started trying to sing something. And lo and behold, she didn’t react in the slightest. I sung a few songs, which were not met with screams and tears, and then let her drift off.

A few nights later, she was falling asleep to the sound of my voice, singing to her. My heart swelled. I was so happy.

Not to be done out, though, she soon started making a game out of it. Amused with her bit of fun, and the fact that this game, too, helps her fall asleep, I go along with it.

Out of all the songs that I would usually sing to her, she has chosen one as her favorite, and will say no to every other song but that one. And it is at that point when she’ll curl up against me and drift off to sleep.

At last, I have fulfilled my dream of singing my child to sleep. I hope this lasts for a very long time.

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